Last week, Shegerian & Associates won a $4.5 million verdict against the Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP). Della Hill, a former long-term employee, filed the lawsuit against AADAP after losing her job while she was on a protected medical leave.

The lawyers from the California-based firm included founder Carney Shegerian, shareholder Anthony Nguyen and associate Mark Lim.

According to a news release issued by the plaintiffs’ firm, Hill broke her arm and took a protected leave of absence. It was during this leave when she was diagnosed with “major depression,” said Shegerian, and the AADAP ultimately terminated her.

“Ms. Hill was a hard-working employee who was dedicated to her work with AADAP prior to her termination,” Shegerian said. “Employers have a legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees and to engage in a dialogue to gauge their needs. But instead of accommodating Ms. Hill after learning of her diagnosis, AADAP chose to wrongfully terminate her employment because of her disability.

“Ms. Hill was not only a victim of discrimination in the workplace, but her firing was covered up under the excuse that it was a financial hardship to keep her out on a leave of absence despite such leave being unpaid.”

The plaintiff was awarded $2.6 million in punitive damages and $1.9 million in economic and non-economic damages, for a total verdict of $4.5 million.

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